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The Corus Hotel, 1 Lancaster Gate
Opera buffs & novices alike are charmed by this concept restaurant, which sees staff belting out popular arias as the evening progresses. One minute, the smiling waitress is delivering your
gravadlax, the next she’s performing a duet from The Magic Flute with her companion. Meanwhile, the European menu might run from tomato terrine with a mascarpone & basil quenelle to sea trout
steamed with aromatic lemongrass. The well-balanced wine list also gets in on the act with categories such as ‘sopranos’ (lighter, aromatic whites) and ‘basses’ (big-hitting reds). While the food
may not win any prizes, it does at least keep punters seated & sated between musical interludes, & even the most reserved diners will find themselves trilling along to the toast from La
Traviata by the end of the evening.
Quirky restaurants in London
The Corus Hotel, 1 Lancaster Gate
Lancaster Gate Tube Station 128m
Paddington Station 543m
Kensington Gardens 632m
Serpentine Gallery 768m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
The true Opera professionals singing and serving your meal are amazing. The food too is very good and one simply has to lift one's hat at the seamless execution of the entire evening. It is a true experience and Londoners are blessed to have their own outpost of this Paris institution.
I cannot recommend Le Bel Canto enough to lovers of Opera and fine French food alike. Many repeat visits have also shown impressive consistency. Bravo!!!
Food + drink: 2
The music was fantastic – the food of high quality, but the food choice was abysmal for vegetarians – I was offered tortellini… That was the main course…and this I could have eaten at home.
The meal was all but eaten by the time the singing started – the staff seemed to be in a rush to get the food over with…
When it came to paying, a 12.5% service charge was added on the full total of the vouchers and extras taken.
Overall, it was a very nice evening, but expensive, while the variety and amount of food was not adequate to last the evening.
Food + drink: 4
The entrance to Le Bel Canto is via the Corus Hotel on Lancaster Gate; a tidy, modern hotel with a fairly busy lobby area and a cocktail bar. Le Bel Canto was to be found on the floor below the hotel lobby.
Although my wife and I are keen on opera and avid foodies we were unsure how the two would fare as one, but our first impressions on arrival at the restaurant were good. The restaurant is fairly small, probably no more than thirty to forty diners at one time, and it is classically and tastefully decked out in deep red and gold. The musical overtones were apparent from the moment we arrived with a grand piano, playing a little Mozart, dominating the centre of the restaurant. Overall the food at Le Bel Canto was traditional French , cooked well, presented well and the portion size was more than adequate. What made this a fabulous evening was the music and the ambience that lent to the overall dining experience. At ten to fifteen minute intervals diners were regaled with arias performed by the waiting staff; solo pieces, duets and ensembles by Mozart, Verdi and Rossini amongst others. The performances are far from static with the action played out amongst the tables, but at no time did this impede the enjoyment of dinner. The concept is unique and the ambience is excellent, one cannot fail to be impressed by the experience.
To start my wife chose the soup of the day, a creamed mixed vegetable soup, and I the Opera Salad. My salad was a fresh green salad, served on a large platter and decorated with pine nuts and a simple dressing. The soup was good and warming. We had arrived shortly before 7.30 in order to enjoy the advertised programme of music and whilst we ate our starter we were entertained with a duet, a Rossini aria, sung beautifully by the waiting staff.
For our mains I ordered the poached salmon, accompanied by an ample portion of mixed vegetables and served with an olive oil salsa. The salmon was poached in green tea apparently! Whatever, it looked and tasted good and the sauce was excellent. My wife chose the lamb shank in a red port sauce, which came served with mashed potato. The meat was tender, the sauce was rich, but not overpowering, and the mashed potatoes were creamy.
At around 9.30 the waiting staff produced a glass of bubbly for every diner, in order that we could enjoy a toast whilst listening to “La Traviata”. Joining in with the chorus was optional, the words not being difficult! A dining moment to remember.
For dessert I had merely a small portion of vanilla ice cream, which was fine, whilst my wife rather opted for the chocolate fondant. I am not personally keen on heavier desserts, but my wife ate around half of the large fondant presented and declared herself full.
At a little over £100 for the two of us, including a perfectly passable bottle of Sauvignon, the restaurant offers good value for money. It is difficult enough to get a good meal in London for that price, let alone one with an opera experience thrown in. My only criticism would be that it would be good to see an a la carte menu with a wider choice of starters and mains.
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